In collaboration with Sheffield Doc/Fest, S1 Artspace and Site Gallery present A Peculiar Form of Fiction, a screening programme which draws together works from the 1970s onwards by artists who have applied the techniques and tropes of documentary within their work due to its directness, impact and its unstable position in relation to truth.
The artists presented are acutely aware of their own authorship, the awkwardness of looking and the explicit ethical problems of telling a story. As such, these works often deliberately expose their production methods and reveal the artist maker in the narrative. Through avoiding a seemingly ‘objective’ position works such as Battle of Orgreave by Jeremy Deller, Self Made by Gillian Wearing and The Girl Chewing Gum by John Smith implicate the artist as a more than a silent witness.
Hito Steyerl explains her fascination with this form of making work: ‘The perpetual disbelief, the gnawing uncertainty about whether what we see is true, faithful to reality or factual, accompany documentary images as their shadow. This doubt is not a deficiency … but the basic attribute of contemporary documentary images.’
With thanks to all the artists who have generously loaned their work and to the distributors: LUX, sixpackfilm, Shady Lane Productions, Artangel, FACT, Film & Video Umbrella and Cornerhouse.